Archive for March, 2011

Consumption == the bane of human existence? Pt. 3 :: Do we really need hydrogen? A hydrogen economy?

I have been cogitating on this ‘Do we need hydrogen?’ question for a good number of days now. For some applications, yes, because I’m sure most would not want to nor be amenable to adopting to compromising a quality of life they have become accustomed. So YES, I think there will be need an alternative to petroleum. And sure, hydrogen could support these systems. But I ALSO feel we require an alternative lifestyle, and a quality of life that’s not based strictly on the west and not based on consumption.

Indeed, we require an energy revolution and need to revisit analyzing energy needs. But I also think we require analyzing an alternative lifestyle, especially here in the USA, that’s not based on the west and not based on conspicuous energy consumption–which, I fear, will be the bane of our existence.

One of my colleagues, The Green Machine, recently posted this up on his web site–I could not say it better about the USA:

http://www.greenexplored.com/2011/03/is-problem-fuel-or-fool.html

“That we have to use a car to buy a loaf of bread or get a cup of coffee from Starbucks is the problem. The fuel in the car is not the problem. That we live 40 miles from our jobs and move our fat asses driving alone in a 4,000 pound hunk of steel is the problem. That we have houses that are 4,000 square feet with lawns that are 40,000 square feet is the problem. That we eat 4,000 kilo calories a day of meat and processed food is our problem. That we don’t recycle aluminum and plastics is our problem. That we have religions that want us to go forth and multiply is our problem. The best use of a chemical is probably in birth control not a battery and that no leaders of religions or countries will tell the 7 billion folks who walk erect that their birth rate is a problem. That Yemen has seen population growth of almost 4% a year for 40 years is the problem. That we have almost a billion internal combustion engines firing up every day is the problem. That we use the resources of three planet earths is a problem. Mostly that otherwise intelligent people like you can be led around by the nose by a thermodynamic fake like Shai Agassi is the problem. Wake up there in Israel Shai is not an energy Prophet he is just making a profit out of energy.”


Shai Agassi referenced in this read.
What about a revolution in oil dependency?
As the countries owning most of the planet’s oil reserves confront growing political turmoil, the economic stability of the whole world will remain at risk – until an alternative to petroleum is developed.

The Crazy Nastyass Honey Badger & CONG have A LOT in common…

Yeah, the Crazy Nastyass Honey Badger, the most fearless animal in the world by the Guinness Book of World Records, and CONG (coal oil nuclear (natural) gas) conglomerates have A LOT in common. Crazy, indeed! Enjoy Randall’s narrations–the operative ‘precious’ comes to mind. Itiswhatitis…

Don’t forget to send Randall your love in the YouTube matrix…

Climate Science STILL Under Attack :: Upcoming Congressional Hearings in the USA

I often hear comments that people don’t understand why politicians undermine, are against or don’t understand renewable energy technologies. I think, in general, it’s because of a lack of political will and misinformation. And as one of my other colleagues on a board I chirp-in said, “…the fashionista green movement has almost destroyed any credibility the science had.”

In general, I think one of the main problems today in the USA is political leadership, be it republican or democrat, is unwilling to base what they say on science, are ignoring the science, and/or pretending the problems of climate instability aren’t real.

BTW: I’m a card-carrying member of the Green Party and a Progressive.

Recently in Wisconsin, wind turbine placement rules were suspended, and one of the arguments for the suspension has to do with noise mitigation. From my own research, I understand that there are indeed legitimate noise concerns regarding siting of wind turbine generators (WTGs). But now there is actually good data out to share with property owners who might lease their land for wind generation, so siting of these WTGs can be implemented sensibly.

Essentially, I think we need more scientists and engineers in politics to help dispense the knowledge wealth and tell the story better. This upcoming week, there are going to be a series of hearings of importance on scientific initiatives and environmental and climate issues, that will likely be opposed and rid under the argument of fiscal responsibility. These hearings will set the stage for future outcomes. Perhaps politicians would not be so against renewable energy technologies if they understood the science better and heard A LOT more from their constituencies on these matters.

The information that follows is courtesy of the Union of Concerned Scientists that are trying to respond to attacks on science:

On Tuesday, March 8, at 1 p.m. ET, the House Energy and Commerce Committee is holding a hearing titled “Climate Science and EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Regulations.” We expect the Committee Chairman, Fred Upton (R-MI), to use the opportunity to question the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) science-based finding that global warming endangers public health.

On Thursday, March 10, at 10 a.m. ET, the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee will hold a hearing on the president’s budget for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the EPA’s office of science. Once again, we expect climate science to come under attack.

It is critical for these hearings that representatives know the public is watching and will not stand by while they attempt to attack important scientific programs that have kept our air clean, our water safe, and protected our children from toxic pollution, as well as saved Americans trillions of dollars, spurred technological developments, and created jobs.

UCS will continue to monitor the hearings and respond, as necessary, but we need your help. Most of the hearings related to climate science are being held in two House committees: Energy and Commerce and Science. Hearings are being announced regularly and usually a few days to a week in advance. We encourage you to look for hearings that you might be interested in. Nearly all are web cast live.

You can also:

1. Write a letter to the editor. (LTE). Members of Congress closely monitor the LTE pages of their local papers. Even though newspaper circulation and numbers are dwindling, members of Congress continue to use them as a measure of the issues their constituents care about.

2. Email or call your elected officials. See if your representative is on one of those committees. If so, ask your representative to support environmental, health, and science programs such as the EPA’s efforts to limit global warming emissions from the dirtiest power plants. Be sure to also be in touch with your senators. Here are the committee URLS for your convenience:

House Energy & Commerce Committee – http://energycommerce.house.gov/about/members.shtml
Committee on Science, Space & Technology – http://science.house.gov/about/membership

NB: Congressman Jerry McNerney, a wind engineer from California is on the Committee on Science, Space and Technology.

3. Use Facebook and Twitter. If you use these social media tools, follow UCS and post about these hearings to your own networks. http://twitter.com/#!/ucsusa The more people engaged on these issues, the better. Many members of Congress are also using social media, so you can often tweet directly to your legislators or post a comment directly on your representative’s and senators’ Facebook pages.

4. Spread the word. Congress is making decisions today that will affect important programs such as the Clean Air Act, National Climate Service, and renewable energy projects. It’s going to take a public outcry to protect these programs from the chopping block.

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What is a Hybrid RE Engineer?

An engineering generalist with an understanding of sustainable development whose skills set are typically comprised of an amalgam of mechanical and electrical engineering. One who is able to design and assemble systems and components that are comprised of more than one renewable energy (RE) technology i.e. solar, wind, hydro-kinetic (ocean/wave/micro-hydro), biomass, hydrogen fuel cell, geothermal and storage (battery, fly wheel, pumped-hydro). The RE technologies selected depend on one's geographical predisposition, resource availability, the end-use need, practicing conservation (behavioral change) to name a few considerations...

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